The 2016 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards took place on the 20th of November at the Grand West’s Grand Arena which was transformed into a secret garden for the annual event. Gregory Czarnecki of The Restaurant at Waterkloof won the coveted title of Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year and for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year, The Test Kitchen was named Restaurant of the Year.

La Colombe was recognised for maintaining the highest level of service with the Eat Out Nespresso Service Excellence Award and the first-ever Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service, which was awarded to front-of-house manager Jennifer Hugé.  Chef, restauranteur and author Peter Veldsman was the winner of the Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award. The Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star Award went to Angelo Scirocco of Urbanologi in Johannesburg for his promising talent, and the Eat Out Wine Service Award for a top sommelier was won by Tinashe Nyamudoka of The Test Kitchen.

The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch was the recipient of the inaugural Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award, which recognises a restaurant that is making strides towards sustainability by implementing environmentally and socially responsible practices and being cognisant of the importance of higher animal welfare. The judging panel for the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award was independent from that of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards and consisted of Abigail Donnelly of Eat Out, Pavitray (Pavs) Pillay of WWF-SASSI, Lynsay Sampson of Fairtrade South Africa, Sonia Mountford of Eategrity and Karen Welter of Longtable Project.

Foxcroft, the new restaurant opened by chefs Scot Kirton and Glen Williams of La Colombe, was named the Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year. Marble in Rosebank, Johannesburg, received the Eat Out Boschendal Style Award for its show-stopping interior design and décor. The winner of the Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary was Ayanda Matomela, who was selected for his passion and enthusiasm.

The full list of restaurants in the top 10 are:

  1. The Test Kitchen
  2. La Colombe
  3. The Restaurant at Waterkloof
  4. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français
  5. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient
  6. Overture
  7. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort
  8. The Kitchen at Maison
  9. Foliage
  10. Camphors at Vergelegen

Abigail Donnelly, Eat Out editor and chief judge, was assisted by fellow judges Carianne Wilkinson of the Silwood School of Cookery and David Higgs from Marble Restaurant. Says Donnelly: “2016 has probably been my most exciting and inspiring year of eating out. Chefs are capturing our imaginations with imaginative, emotive cooking, and fine producers are elevated yet again. South Africa’s restaurants really are world-class. I’m particularly thrilled about the amazing restaurants popping up in Johannesburg right now, where a new generation of legends is leading the way.”

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Germaine EsauDaksha Vallabh